The Panthers running game is the key to winning this game. DeAngelo Williams will start off at RB and Mike Tolbert at FB. The combination of speed and power between these two runners will be a big test for the fledgling defense of the Buccaneers.
Cam Newton will provide the passing game and extra run support for the offense. WR Brandon LaFell and WR Steve Smith will get their catches on offense. With the exception of RB Jonathan Stewart being out with an ankle injury, the Panthers offense is running at full throttle.
The defense is being lead by the rookie phenomenon LB Luke Kuechly who is all over the field. RCB Captain Munnerlyn has also been playing well. MLB Jon Beason is also back and terrorizing opposing offenses.
Looking at Tampa Bay, they go by the way of their QB Josh Freeman. With him as a player, you never know which one will show up to play or not play.
The running game will feature RB Doug Martin and FB Erik Lorig starting the game and RB Legarrette Blount will come off the bench due to his performances during the Preseason was not up to the standards.
The Buccaneers defense is truly suspect. RCB Aqib Talib and FS Ronde Barber are the bright spots for the defense. They will have their hands full trying to coral the powerful Panthers offense.
In my estimation, I do not think that the Buccaneers offense or defense is on the same level as the Panthers, so I am picking the Panthers to be victorious and win this matchup 31-14.